HOMEBREW Digest #4400 Fri 14 November 2003

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  Re: Belgian yeasts and saccharification rest temperatures (Kent Fletcher)
  More on refractometry ("Louis Bonham")
  Bottle Washer ("Mike Sharp")
  Re: Fermentation by Belgian yeasts (Bjoern.Thegeby)
  Re: The makeing of Barleywine, SWAG Definition (Bill Tobler)
  Refractometer specific gravity conversion (bcarpenter)
  Re: basement brewing (Todd Goodman)
  Re:  Motorizing a mill (Mark Kempisty)
  Re: Atomatic bottle washer (Mark Kempisty)
  Bottle Washer (VIZECKY)
  Origin of Hops? ("Susan Ruud")
  refractometer, chiller ("Dave Burley")
  Cloudy Beer (Tim & Cindy Howe)
  Re: Conical fermenter suggestions appreciated ("Gary Smith")
  Re: Motorizing a Mill (DC or AC motor) (tTB\)" <jeff@truthbrew.com>
  Re: basement brewing ("Dave and Joan King")
  Homebrew Conicals and Racking Ports ("Stephen Johnson")
  pumping wort ("Greg Hunter")

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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 21:49:11 -0800 (PST) From: Kent Fletcher <fletcherhomebrew at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Belgian yeasts and saccharification rest temperatures Adam Stern asked: "Can Belgian yeasts metabolize polysaccharides and dextrins, and if so, to what extent? (snip) These sugars are usually unfermentable for most standard ale and lager yeasts, but Belgian brews have comparatively low final gravities compared to those made with standard beer yeasts. I presume this indicates that perhaps some polysaccharides are indeed metabolized by Belgian yeasts, but I have yet to see any facts or figures in print." A: I think that many Belgian ales have relatively low FG's because of the use of Candi Sugar. Candi makes up a significant percentage of the fermentables in many recipes. Yet many of these same beers have a residual sweetness due to the less fermentable sugars. "To what extent can a brewer control the final gravity of Belgian beers by adjusting the sugar rest temperature in the mash? If the yeasts are simply going to eat all the sugars in sight, then the particular distribution of simple sugars in a brew would be irrelevant, as would the sugar rest temperature." A: As much as any other style with similarly fermentable ingreients. While some Belgian yeast strains are pretty high attenuators, so are many other commonly used strains, Irish Ale for one. If it really were a matter of the yeast "eating all the sugars in sight, then the resultant beers would always be quite dry, and this is certainly not the case with many, if not most, Belgians. Kent Fletcher Brewing in So Cal Return to table of contents
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 23:56:01 -0600 From: "Louis Bonham" <lkbonham at houston.rr.com> Subject: More on refractometry Greetings all: Regarding the recent questions on using refractometers, let's recap a few tips for properly using handheld refractometers. (1) Always calibrate your unit. This is easy: just put a drop or two of distilled or RO water on the stage. If your unit has a calibration screw, adjust until it shows a zero reading. If you don't, then just remember the appropriate "correction" factor (e.g., if water reads 0.2 Brix, remember to subtract 0.2 from all subsequent readings). (2) Always calibrate at the ambient temperature that you will be using it. I discovered this the hard way . . . if I calibrated the unit inside my house during the summer (about 78F), and then used it outside (95-100F), the readings would be way off. (3) Always clean and dry the stage after each use. If you leave wort on it, guess what . . . it'll evaporate and leave the sugar behind, which can then skew your next reading. If it is wet, those remaining droplets of water or wort can similarly mess things up. I usually rinse with water and dry with lens paper [I got a huge box of it from Cynmar for $3] after each reading. (4) Generally, a few drops of even boiling wort will cool to the ambient temperature within 30 seconds, thanks to the large thermal mass of the refractometer body. There's really no need to cool the sample before testing, as long as you have calibrated your refractometer at the ambient temp it is being used at. (Doesn't hurt anything to cool it, however.) (5) Remember that Brix is a scale based on sucrose solutions. Wort contains lots of different sugars and other compounds with slightly different refractive indices than sucrose. Ergo, while a sucrose solution that reads 15 Brix by refractometry is indeed SG 1.061, a wort sample that similarly reads 15 Brix is usually going to be only about SG 1.059. (Bill Frazier's data shows this nicely . . . at higher gravities, the "apparent" SG based on Brix was a higher than when measured with a narrow range hydrometer. At lower gravities, the difference is typically within the noise range and can be disregarded, but at high gravities [>18P], it makes a significant difference.) For this reason, you need to divide your Brix measurements by a factor (the literature says it is typically between 1.02 and 1.06; 1.04 commonly used if you don't want to calculate your particular Brix correction factor) to get a "corrected" Brix / Plato reading. [ProMash automates this nicely, BTW.] (6) If you think in terms of SG rather than degrees Plato, **don't** just multiply degrees Brix or Plato by 4 to get the number of SG "points" . . . that'll give you significantly inaccurate results at higher gravities. Use the ASBC tables or a program like ProMash to do the conversion from Brix / Plato to SG.) (7) Remember that you can use your refractometer to track your gravity during the ferment (as well as to determine the approximate EtOH level of the final product), but to do so you'll either need to use a program like ProMash or be prepared to do some fairly involved calculations. (The truncated formulas are in the HBD archives; the untruncated ones are implemented in ProMash.) Refractometers are wonderful and easy to use brewing tools *if* you use them correctly. If you don't, however, then it's often garbage in = garbage out. Louis K. Bonham Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 00:27:13 -0800 From: "Mike Sharp" <rdcpro at hotmail.com> Subject: Bottle Washer Brian Lundeen drools over a Bottle Washer "Have a look at this beauty." http://www.cask.com/Brew_on_Premises/Packaging/Washers/washers.html Yep, our local BOP has one like it, but bigger (96 bottles, I think). Very nice. I saved my old dishwasher when I replaced it. I've been thinking about ripping out the dish rack, plumbing some pipes inside, connecting them to the pump, and every few inches, stub a small (1/4") pipe up to hold the bottles. A brass pressure washer nozzle might be nice for the end of the small pipe/tube, but may not be necessary. While most of the water would be directed inside the bottles, I think leaving one of the rotating sprayers to clean the outside of the bottle would be a good idea, assuming it doesn't rob too much of the water pressure. I can get two layers of bottles in there if I'm tricky. If I used PBW or TSP or some such in the detergent dispenser, I could probably do a pretty good job of washing and rinsing. Then I would run a "rinse and hold" cycle, but dump some sanitizer in the tub before starting. I was wondering if the "rinse aid" dispenser would work with idophor...and whether it meters the rinse aid on the final rinse only, or on every cycle. Haven't built it yet, but it's sitting there next to my workbench, begging to be started on. It unfortunately doesn't have a sanitize heat cycle...I promise if I build it, to post pictures of it. Regards, Mike Sharp Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 09:17:01 +0100 From: Bjoern.Thegeby at cec.eu.int Subject: Re: Fermentation by Belgian yeasts Adam Stern asked: >Can Belgian yeasts metabolize polysaccharides and dextrins, and if so, to what extent? It is correct that a number of Belgian beers do ferment out more. I believe that can be attributed to one of two causes. Either they mash at temperatures leaving fewer dextrines and more fermentable extract or the yeast mix used contains brettanomyces as well as saccharomyces. Brettanomyces is a much slower fermenter but can break down dextrins and (I seem to remember) starch. Brewing in Belgium is as much a case of economics as elsewhere, and if there is a trend it goes towards shortening the brew time. An example is Interbrew's Vieux Temps, which on tap has a clear brett note, while the bottled version is a dull Belgian ale a la Palm. Guess if you can find the tap version anymore? In practice, the American homebrewer could probably not find a Belgian mix containing brett apart from the lambic cultures (Is there a red ale yeast?). It should also be remembered that brett has a massive staying power, so unless your hygiene is perfect, you will brew brett-flavoured beers forever. Another thing to consider is that brett, being very slow but steady, can create bottle bombs over time as the saccharomyces may have fermented out and the beer bottled well before the brett kicks in. I had a case of Kriek that could only be opened under water! Cheers Bjorn T Waterloo Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 05:00:24 -0600 From: Bill Tobler <wctobler at sbcglobal.net> Subject: Re: The makeing of Barleywine, SWAG Definition Thanks for all the great replies on making Barleywine. Some of the tips were: Skip the incremental feeding. Use plenty of fresh yeast. Nottingham seemed to be the favorite. (I will definitely try that next time) Use O2 to aerate with up to 12 hours into fermentation Decarbonate the beer during fermentation Keep the Mash temp low, 145-148 Use lots of grain and quit your runoff early (1.080) Use lots of Hops. -S said not to skimp on the FAN. I'm sure he doesn't mean my window unit. I'll have to read up on that. No one mentioned using yeast nutrients. I don't think I have any, so I will probably skip it. Thanks everyone for the help. I'm sure this will be a fun session. And the top 12 definitions for SWAG are: http://www.acronymfinder.com/af-query.asp?String=exact&Acronym=swag Bill Tobler Lake Jackson, TX (1129.7, 219.9) Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 06:17:03 -0600 From: bcarpenter at macunlimited.net Subject: Refractometer specific gravity conversion William Frazier writes: > Bob Hall has had poor results using a refractometer to determine the > specific gravity of wort "So what's the deal? Any tips from > refractometer > users would be appreciated." While the subject is on the table, is there such a thing as a quick and easy chart to show refractometer readings with a corresponding specific gravity number? All I have been able to locate is (for me) a very complex math formula for conversion. I am an artist and gosh darnnit, it's just over me head. Bruce Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 08:37:08 -0500 From: Todd Goodman <tsg at bonedaddy.net> Subject: Re: basement brewing * In HBD #4399, jim wrote: > I'd like to move my 15 gal. RIMS down to the basement. I would convert to > natural gas. My plan is to have a plumber handle the gas and a friend that > builds restaurant hoods do me some venting. I want this done right, and will > pay for it, so, what is really needed? I know the danger is mostly carbon > monoxide, so I plan on having a meter. Any recommendations? Grainger > part#'s? Yes CO is the big danger. Both from the regular burning as well as excessive CO production if you burn inefficiently due to poor make up air. > With a powerful restaurant quality hood, do I need to still need to have an > open window bringing in make up air, or do they have that incorporated? I > know my friend will know, I just want to prepare myself before approaching > him. I have a resturant hood and fire supression system (required by the fire dept. due to my commercial stove.) I have a heat sensor and CO sensor hard wired into my house smoke detector system (all the alarms go off if either one is tripped.) I use a nighthawk (I think) brand CO detector as well that has a LED readout. I think this is a definate requirement even with the other CO detector as I can see right away if the CO starts to climb. I recently moved my brewing area to a new basement area and the new area is much larger so make up air isn't a concern. However, in my old system, make up air was a *big* deal. I could have opened windows to do it, but the inspector required two large holes in the side of my house with the vents inside at different heights. The size of the holes was determined by looking at the total BTU output of all burners on on my stove. (Sorry, I don't have the formula they used, but it differs for propane and natural gas.) > > I would be very interested in any pics. anybody can send me on their > basement setups. I have some pics at: http://bonedaddy.net/tgoodman/brewerypics/. Looking at them now, I see that I really need to take some more pics of the new brewery. The first four pics are of the old brewery and the last three are the new brewery area. I'll try to get some more pics up there today. Todd Brewing in Westford, MA [630.3, 84] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 10:10:37 -0500 From: Mark Kempisty <mskhbd at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Motorizing a mill I have a Barley Crusher which has a long stem for the crank handle. What this means is that it is a piece of cake to attach a drill (I use a 14.4 V B&D drill) or a pulley. With as often as I brew, the drill is the easiest way to go. However, starting the crush with a full hopper can be difficult. Its much easier to start the drill and then scoop the grain in. I have never run into stones in my malt, but using the drill's clutch sounds like cheap insurance. Brew on, Mark Richboro, PA Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 10:22:19 -0500 From: Mark Kempisty <mskhbd at yahoo.com> Subject: Re: Atomatic bottle washer I just watch the video demonstration for the bottle washer. Interesting, but at only thirty bottles every three minutes it through put seems low for all but the smallest operations. On the flip side I have dreamed of taking a pump and making something similar to sanitize bottles. Just pump the iodophore, shoot it up and into the bottles, collect it when it falls out and back to the pump. Haven't built it yet but a sanitizer spritzer for the top of my bottle tree seems like it would be cheaper and give me the fastest through put. Brew-on Mark Richboro, PA Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 07:29:12 -0800 (PST) From: VIZECKY <vizecky at yahoo.com> Subject: Bottle Washer Brian Lundeen laments the absence of an affordable automatic home bottle washer. My suggestion would be to refit an old dishwasher. The dishwasher does everything you need, it will heat the water, recirculation to reduce waste, clean water rinse, automatic cycles etc. Just pull out the existing hardware, baskets etc, and make your self a manifold out of 1/2" or 3/4" PVC with 3/8" up-tubes to support the bottles and deliver the solutions. Remove the lower rotating arm and use a hose to hook the pumped water to the manifold. There is certainly enough water pressure and probably enough room to fit two stacked "racks" of bottles into the machine. If you rigged it up with some type of quick connect on the "racks" you could pull the bottles out to dry on the racks while you wash more bottles. Cheers! Gordon in Minneapolis, MN Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 09:42:35 -0800 From: "Susan Ruud" <susan.ruud at ndsu.nodak.edu> Subject: Origin of Hops? Hi, I was wondering if anyone could tell me where Hops originated from. We have been having a good discussion about this among our club members. Also, can you tell me if there were any hops originally grown in North America before the settlers came? I realize that I could probably do some reading and find this out but if anyone knows you would certainly save me a lot of time. Thanks, Susan Ruud Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 11:08:34 -0500 From: "Dave Burley" <Dave_Burley at charter.net> Subject: refractometer, chiller Brewsters, Bob Hall asks why his use of a refractometer gives varying results on back to back samples.. With fresh wort the main problem in getting a constant reading back to back may be inadequate mixing, especially with malt extract. Often new brewers will have a high concentration of extract at the bottom of the fermenter and as it dissolves, OG will change. Bob, there is no need to wait after putting the sample on the prism glass. In fact, this may cause some evaporation and a source of error. For those more complicated ( and more accurate) laboratory refractometers which have a temperature controlled glass prism, it is better to close the cover and wait for temperature equilibration. Thus the 30 seconds. Not necessary in your case. A refractometer and a hydrometer are not exactly the same although in the case of a pure unfermented wort you will get similar results which relate to the solids ( more than just sugar) dissolved. After the fermentation has proceeded and alcohol has been generated and sugar lost, the hydrometer is difficult to use because of the clinging CO2 bubbles and the refractometer does not give similar result to the hydrometer because alcohol has a different refractive index from water and alcohol/water mixtures are non-linear. To determine the progress of the fermentation I suggest you use Clinitest Kit to determine the reducing sugar content. If you add sucrose to your wort you will have to give the yeast invertase the opportunity to invert this before the Clinitest is useful for this portion of the dissolved solids, but as the fermentation proceeds sucrose is converted to dextrose and fructose which are both reducing sugars and detectable by the Clinitest kit method. In all cases of using instruments and chemical tests, it is important to understand what you are measuring and when they are useful. - ------------------- I would think that with a chiller made from a central copper tube and a garden hose, that the copper tube could be dented or crimped slightly along its length before assembly to make the flow of the wort as well as the cooling water be turbulent at the tube wall. This would increase the chilling capacity. Keep on Brewin' Dave Burley Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 14:20:42 -0500 From: Tim & Cindy Howe <howe at execulink.com> Subject: Cloudy Beer I've just knocked off three consecutive batches of my house bitter (23L batches). The first batch came out cloudy as all hell, while the other two came out crystal clear. I pitched Wyeast 1028 straight from the smack pack (over size, fresh, swelled up nicely) into the first batch, and repitched the yeast from the primary for the other two. Variables: Batch #1 mashed at 156F /90min / 10L water; Batch #2 mashed at 152F /90min / 12L water; Batch #3 mashed at 152F /90min / 11L water. (Grain bill / hop schedule the same). I've run into this type of problem before with this yeast, and I think it's usually with the first pitching, but the grist on the first batch was also kinda thick so that may have been a factor. Anybody have any comments, ideas? Cheers, Tim London, Ont Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 13:49:39 -0600 From: "Gary Smith" <mandolinist at ameritech.net> Subject: Re: Conical fermenter suggestions appreciated Thanks to some very helpful replies, the answer to my question below has been clarified: > Understanding that I haven't used a conical, It seems to me that the > "rotating arm" is not of much real use. If the fermentation has stopped or is > nearly stopped, opening the valve at the bottom will allow the trub & yeast > to be expelled. Once expelled, clear beer would exit and this is what would > be racked to a secondary. The consensus was that not all the yeast falls from the sides of the cone when dumping and yeast will continue to be expelled through the dump port & into the beer if I rack through this valve. Looking at the $100 -$130 price of rotating racking arms are selling for, I'm thinking I should settle on a fixed side port and be willing to accept some loss of beer from each batch that a rotating arm would gather & not miss. I have searched for the most logical place for this fixed port to be located and have not been able to come up with an answer. I thought of forming a fixed arm extending to the center of the cone but figured that's splitting hairs and devising such arm from McMaster-Carr parts would be just offer more of a chance to harbor bacteria considering the number of parts involved. I'm thinking a 1/2" hole with a 1/2" SS nipple welded 3" from the bottom of the cone sounds like a pretty good location. I would dump the yeast from a 1" dump port a day ahead of racking. The day lag time would be to allow the remaining yeast stirred up during dumping to have time to settle down again. Maybe that's more hair splitting and waiting say one hour would be as good? Anyone with experience with the 60 degree bevelled conicals have a good idea what the level of a fixed racking port should be from the bottom of the conical? Cheers, Gary Gary Smith CQ DX de KA1J http://musician.dyndns.org/homebrew.html http://musician.dyndns,org.rims.html "Give a man a beer and he'll drink for five minutes. Teach him where the beer is, he'll drink for a lifetime and get it his own damn self". Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 12:24:03 -0800 (PST) From: "Jeff Halvorson \(tTB\)" <jeff at truthbrew.com> Subject: Re: Motorizing a Mill (DC or AC motor) Thanks for all the great responses to my motorized mill question. Once I come up with something more than my 14.4V DeWalt drill, I'll post my results. Cheers, Jeff Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 19:55:42 -0500 From: "Dave and Joan King" <dking3 at stny.rr.com> Subject: Re: basement brewing Jim, I've got a basement brewery with a normal sized double hung window (I think that's the right name, it's 2 pieces that slide up and down past each other). I have a big natural gas cooker with a converted 1/2 keg brew pot. All I do is pull the top down some, and the bottom up some, and the natural convection gives me good air exchange, except when it gets warm out, like into the 60's. Then I put a short window fan in the top, pushing the air out. I use a CO2 monitor, and the only time it went off was once when I forgot to open the window. Dave King (BIER), [396.1, 89.1] Apparent Rennerian Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 20:02:46 -0600 From: "Stephen Johnson" <sjohnson3 at comcast.net> Subject: Homebrew Conicals and Racking Ports Gary Smith asks about the utility of the racking ports and their cost benefit in some of the homebrew sized conical fermenters available on the market. I've had a 7 gallon stainless conical from Beer, Beer, and More Beer for several years now. I am glad that I purchased mine with the racking port option. The reason is that while the idea of removing all of the trub and yeast harvesting from the bottom port is a good one based on commercial applications, the reality is that it is virtually impossible to get all of the yeast to fall to the bottom and then be able to extract clear beer from the same bottom port at bottling or kegging time. What I've found is that a fair amount of yeast tends to adhere to the sides of the fermenter at the end of fermentation and as the yeast begins to settle and the beer clears. Then, as trub is removed and then yeast harvested, that yeast on the sides of the fermenter remains. I think others have posted here in the past about the difference in scale to amount of beer and yeast with these homebrew versions that accounts for this situation of the yeast sticking to the sides of the fermenter. Unfortunately, it remains there until the beer is then drawn out of the bottom of the fermenter, at which point it begins to slide down the side and to the bottom port as the level of the beer drops. This isn't such a bad thing if one is racking into a secondary fermenter. However, with some of my beers I rack directly into a Cornelius keg, and this brings in a lot of unnecessary yeast. The advantage of the side racking port and arm is that the arm does not suck up nearly as much yeast while it is slowly rotated to stay just below the level of the beer while racking. The yeast then continues to slide down the sides of the fermenter, but not into the racking arm until it gets to the very bottom. I notice a big difference in the amount of yeast in the secondary between these two methods. For me it was worth the extra cost. Steve Johnson Music City Brewers Nashville, TN Return to table of contents
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2003 21:59:41 -0500 From: "Greg Hunter" <ghunter at adelphia.net> Subject: pumping wort I have been away from brewing and the HBD for about a year since I purchased a custom cabinet business on Cape Cod, MA. I was going through beer talk withdrawl and signed up for the digest again. Great to see so many familiar names and discussion threads. My question for the group: How do you move wort through the CFC. I have a pump and 5 Gallon joint compound bucket filled with ice and water that I recirculate that will usually cool down an entire batch of wort. I am getting tired of lifting the hot wort up high enough for gravity to work it's magic. Most peristaltic pumps are expensive and only move milliliters per minute and I don't have that much time. Any suggestion/plans for home made peristaltic pumps? I have some ideas but don't want to reinvent the wheel if I don't have too. Greg Hunter Atlantic Custom Cabinetry Duxbury, MA 02331 Return to table of contents
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